Recipes from Bedford Post Inn Chef Jeremy McMillan, Using a Wood-Fired Outdoor Grill



Bedford Post’s Chef Jeremy McMillan and his Wood-Fired, Outdoor Grill

You say you know how to grill? Lemme guess—you walk outside and click on the propane. You slap some burgers and steaks on the grate and then call yourself a badass.

But Chef Jeremy McMillan of Bedford Post is the real culinary badass.

Last spring, he convinced the owners of Bedford Post—Richard Gere, Russell Hernandez, and Cary Lowell—to build him a wood-fueled grill like one he’d read about that existsin a rural, European restaurant. Asador Etxebarri is an iconic Basque restaurant where the charcoal is painstakingly made from locally foraged oak, apple, orange, fig, and olive woods. At Etxebarri, everything on the menu, if not served raw, is charcoal-roasted, including oysters, wild-foraged mushrooms, locally raised produce, and game. In the ever-shifting sands of culinary fashion, Asador Etxebarri will always be known as the first locavorian restaurant to fetishize fire itself.

While McMillan dispenses with making his own charcoal, he does use wood to fuel his custom-built outdoor kitchen, which incorporates an open-mouthed beehive oven with two moveable grills that raise and lower with repurposed trailer hitches. In warm weather, a few lucky diners can sit outdoors at the massive stone chef’s table and watch McMillan churn out smoke-licked quail, fire-roasted branzino, wood-roasted figs, and skinny stalks of charred asparagus. The dishes coming from McMillan’s outdoor kitchen are charged with an intense, rustic flavor that pairs perfectly with Bedford Post’s clean Italian cuisine. “The outdoor kitchen has given us the ability to keep things even simpler than we usually do. It makes it easier for us to let the products speak for themselves.” Indeed, his outdoor kitchen holds no fussy mise en place. In it, you’ll find only oil, salt, herbs, citrus, and some vinegar.

 

 

For all of their complex flavors, these dishes are simple to prepare. While you may not have Chef McMillan’s stony behemoth outside, you might still try a few of these dishes at home. Also, with some forethought, these dishes work well at the beach or even on camping trips. All you really need is food and fire. 

 

 

 

GRILLED QUAIL AND PLUM SALAD

Serves 6

MARINATE THE QUAIL

6 semi-boneless (or “sleeve-boned”) quail

1 Tbsp shaved garlic

1 tsp chili pepper flakes

 ¼ cup six-year-old balsamic vinegar         

juice of 1 orange

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients well and allow them to marinate for two hours.

COMPLETE THE DISH

n  3 baby leeks

n  3 plums                               

n  salt and pepper

n  1 cup baby arugula

n  3 Tbsp 18-year-old balsamic vinegar

n  3 Tbsp olive oil

Cut leeks in half, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Grill until cooked through—about  2 to 3 minutes. Place one half of each leek on a plate. Season the quail with salt and cracked pepper; grill over coals to medium, turning once. Cooking time is approximately 2 to 3 minutes each side. Remove quails and allow to rest. Slice plums into ½-inch pieces. Split quails, and place half of each quail on the leek. Top with plum slices, then with remaining quail halves. Drizzle with olive oil, then balsamic vinegar. Garnish with baby arugula and serve.

 

JOHN BOY’S CHICKEN WITH CORN AND CHANTERELLES

Serves 4

MAKE THE BRINE FOR THE CHICKEN

1 cup kosher salt               

2 Tbsp sugar

10 cups water

 2 John Boy's chickens, about 4 pounds each

Combine the first three ingredients and heat to boil. Cool. Split chickens, leaving thigh and leg attached to breast. Submerge each chicken in brine for 20 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels.

MAKE CHICKEN MARINADE

1 Tbsp coriander seeds 

1 Tbsp fennel seeds       

1 Tbsp chili pepper flakes            

1 orange, sliced very thin                             

 ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Brine and pat the chickens dry (see above). In a hot, dry pan, toast the spices until fragrant and lightly colored, then grind them in a spice grinder (a coffee grinder will also work). Mix the ground spices with the olive oil, then toss chickens with the oil/spice mixture and cover with orange slices until ready to use.

MAKE THE CORN AND CHANTERELLES SALAD

2 ears of sweet, local corn

¼ lb of chanterelles

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil          

3 sprigs thyme  

1 lemon

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 500° F. Remove silks from corn, leaving husk attached at base. Oil, salt, and pepper cob, then replace the husks over the ears. On the grill, char ears on all sides and reserve. Place chanterelles in oven-safe bowl; season with salt, pepper, olive oil, and thyme sprigs.

Roast in oven for 5 minutes or until cooked through. Cut corn off of the cob and toss with the chanterelles. Squeeze lemon juice over the salad, taste, and adjust seasoning.

ASSEMBLE THE DISH

1 head of onion blossoms

1 brick, wrapped with foil

Season chicken with sea salt, and place skin-side-down over indirect heat from a wood-charcoal fire; press with a brick. Cook on skin side until about ¾ done (approx. 15 minutes), then flip and finish cooking until juices run clear. This should take about 20 minutes total cooking time. Remove from heat. Plate chicken and top with cornand chanterelles salad. Drizzle with olive oil and sea salt. Garnish with onion blossoms.

 

PORK CHOP WITH FAVA BEAN PURéE

Serves 4

MAKE THE BRINE FOR THE PORK CHOPS

1 cup kosher salt               

2 Tbsp sugar

10 cups water

4 pork chops, double-cut

Combine ingredients and heat to boil. Cool. Submerge chops in brine for 20 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels.

 

MAKE THE FAVA BEAN PURéE

2 cups water     

1 Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (or a 2” x 2” chunk)

2 Tbsp diced onion

1 Tbsp diced carrot

1 Tbsp diced celery

2 sprigs thyme                                  

1 garlic clove, crushed

4 oz dried fava beans

2 Tbsp olive oil

Make a quick stock by combining water, Parmigiano-Reggiano rind, onion, carrot, celery, thyme, and garlic in a pot and simmering for 20 minutes. Strain, reserving liquid. Replace liquid in the pot and add fava beans. Simmer 30 to 45 minutes, or until the beans are cooked through. In a blender, place beans and their liquid with the olive oil, and purée until smooth. Season to taste with salt and keep warm until ready to serve.

 

FINISH THE DISH

n  ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved thin or peeled with a  vegetable peeler

n  1 head of escarole or endive, cut into quarters

n  1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

n  salt and pepper, to taste

n  1 tsp red wine vinegar

n  1 lemon, cut in half         

Grill pork chop, first over direct heat, then over indirect heat, until cooked to desired temperature, approximately 25 minutes for still-rosy pork. While the pork is cooking, rub escarole or endive with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the escarole or endive cut-side-down directly over the coals until wilted and charred (approximately 2 to 3 minutes). Remove from the heat and sprinkle with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. Drizzle with red wine vinegar and set aside. To plate the dish, place a spoon of fava bean purée in the center of the plate, top with the wilted greens, add pork chop, and finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.

 

Julia Sexton—restaurant critic, food columnist, and food writer—has long been fan of wood-roasted and grilled food. While she usually can be found cooking over the aged prunings from her fig trees, she has been known to drag home intriguing branches that she finds on the street.